In the US, women earn only 25% of math and computer science degrees and only 17.8% of engineering bachelor degrees. In 2009, women comprised 46.8% of the total workforce, but only 11.5% of engineering jobs. Kentucky is 49th in the nation in the number of bachelor's degrees conferred in science and engineering. Kentucky also ranks 47th in the number of scientists and engineers and 42nd in the number of high-tech jobs.
Girl Scouts is changing these outcomes one girl, one math project, one science experiment at a time.
In 2012-13, 800 Girl Scouts participated in a STEM program across the council. Girl Scouts provides environmental programs, robotics experiences, and activities promoting math and science learning opportunities. GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science), is a special one-day STEM event for 250 girls in grades 4-12 at the University of Kentucky. Now in its eighth year, the GEMS event was developed in response to the need for more women in math, science and technology. Girls have the opportunity to explore
STEM topics through hands-on workshops in an all-girl environment. At robotic workshops, girls learn to build, design and program a LEGO WeDO or Mindstorm robot. This year, Kentucky’s Wilderness Road organized its first robotics teams. These STEM experiences are successful in promoting the importance of science and technology in girls’ lives today and for their future careers.
Only 46% of girls know a woman in a STEM career. Girl Scout STEM programs provide an opportunity for girls to meet and talk with women in STEM fields and careers.
Girl Scout STEM programs are effective in improving STEM skills and knowledge and increasing girls’ interest in STEM careers.
- 83.9% of girls reported that they liked to know how things work.
- 84.9% of girls reported that they know how science makes a difference in their lives.
- 95.7% of girls reported “Science is fun!” (This was an increase of 38.6% over the pre-survey.)
- 95.6% of girls reported that they feel comfortable studying science.
- 79.5% of girls reported knowing a woman in a STEM career. (This was an increase of 45.4% over the pre-survey.
Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road had developed a strong network of community partners to provide a volunteer base and expertise in STEM programs, including Toyota, Lexmark, Duke Energy, EQT, Lockheed Martin, LG&E and KU Utilities, The University of Kentucky Department of Engineering, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Morehead University, Northern Kentucky University, Society of Women Engineers and Phi Sigma Rho Engineering Sorority.